baerbock1_Michael M. Santiago_Getty Images Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

United for Humanity

Policymakers have a powerful tool to overcome the main challenges the world faces. Confronting Russia's aggressive war in Ukraine, combating the climate crisis. and mitigating shortages of essential goods has generated remarkable global solidarity – but not enough.

BERLIN – How can we be optimistic about 2023? As we enter the new year, a devastating war is raging on the European continent. Russia’s war of aggression has slashed a devastating wound far beyond Europe, exacerbating a food and energy crisis in large parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. More than 800 million men, women, and children go to bed hungry every night. The climate emergency is deepening this pain, stirring conflict worldwide, and robbing people of their land, their homes, and their security.

How can we be optimistic in such frightful times of uncertainty? I strongly believe that, as responsible world leaders, we simply have no other option than to face the next year with a firm sense of confidence that we can drive change to improve people’s lives. Not despite this “perfect storm” of crises – but because of it.

Nelson Mandela once described the moments when his faith in humanity was tested, but still he would not give in to despair. “Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward” – that’s how he put it.

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